Election 1944: Letters from readers (post-convention)

More respect urged for First Lady

To the editor: Wherever you go you will find people who, when speaking of our President’s wife, call her Eleanor. It makes no difference if these people are anti-Roosevelt or pro-Roosevelt, it is ill-mannered to use the first name of a person who is in the position that Mrs. Roosevelt holds.

Let us keep in mind that Mrs. Roosevelt has four sons actively engaged in the present conflict, and, if for no other reason, we should show more respect for her. Let us remember, too, that our enemies like nothing better than to hear reports of such disrespect.

716 N Canal St., Newton Falls, OH

The Pittsburgh Press (September 16, 1944)

‘Sovereignty’ issue must be faced

To the editor: As Mr. Wendell Willkie has pointed out, the world “sovereignty” is misused in the Democratic and Republican platforms. In international law “sovereign” means “exercising the usual powers of self-government and of declaring peace and war without outside control.”

The Republican formula, “cooperative organization among sovereign nations,” is a contradiction in terms, for no such organization can stop a war without depriving some nation of its sovereignty.

The Democratic expression, “organization based on the equal sovereignty of all peace loving states,” suggests an equal giving up of sovereignty, and calls for a redefinition of the word or else the use of some other word in its place.

Perfect personal liberty means freedom of each person to kill and rob at will. Society limits personal liberty to what each can use without affecting the equal liberty of others.

If we want co-operation to prevent war each nation must give up some of its liberty of action. We might as well face the fact. If we cannot tolerate any power greater than the United States, we are either isolationists or imperialists. On our ability to decide this issue depends future peace or war.

Mars, PA

Poster switches many voters, he says

To the editor: The Republican campaign poster saying, “It’s your country, don’t let Sidney Hillman run it,” will do more harm to the Dewey-Bricker ticket than good. I know of many voters who would have voted for Dewey and Bricker but who have since changed their minds and will vote the Democratic ticket – thanks to Mr. James Malone, the Republican county chairman.

935 Lilac St., Pittsburgh, PA

The Pittsburgh Press (September 18, 1944)

GOP spellbinders leave him cold

To the editor: Just what do the anti-New Dealers and the Republican spellbinders have in mind to take the place of the New Deal? What will they do with social security, control of investment issues, insurance of bank deposits, collective bargaining for labor and the many other laws of the same value? Throw them into the discard?

The anti-New Dealers are going to market on election day riding a well-groomed hobbyhorse of joke pretense and shoddy promises. Of course, the Republicans are going to promise “full employment, eternal peace,” and snowballs for the Fourth of July and the chances are a lot of people will believe them.

Republican efficiency, eh? Balderdash! It is a fact that during the last 12 years of Republican rule the Government was so full of inefficiencies and the 12-year itch that when the Democrats came into power they had to put a ceiling price on currycombs.

There is one thing I admire the Republican spellbinders for: When they tell a tie, they stick to it.

735 N Highland Ave., Pittsburgh, PA

Faith of our fathers needed, he says

To the editor: If every American of voting age would, before November 7, go to some quiet place and get some heavenly inspiration similar to what the founders of this great nation got, I am quite sure as a nation, we could avoid much suffering.

Our ancestors fought and died to free us from kings, and as I meditate, I often wonder what they would think if they were to come back and see us returning to kings.

The CIO dominates the New Deal, and now it is demanding tribute to help perpetuate the New Deal. I will work for my board before I will pay tribute to any labor dictator. Unless we awake – and that very soon – I fear even if we win the war we will lose the peace.

The most absurd and silly statement I can think of is what the New Deal says about President Roosevelt: “He is the only man who can lead us to victory.”

I am aware that there is a famine in the land in regard to Heaven-inspired leaders; therefore, perhaps it is best that we drift on toward the brink and at the psychological moment a Heaven-sent leader will appear.

As a nation we are living in dissipation and debauchery and naturally we will reap a terrible harvest. We can congratulate ourselves on escaping what Europe suffered; yet I feel this congratulation is premature. What goes up naturally comes down.

Our founding fathers had faith in God, and if we are to successfully continue as a nation, we must get back to the faith of our fathers.

Rd 1, New Wilmington, PA

The Pittsburgh Press (September 19, 1944)

Roosevelt victory forecast by reader

To the editor: Governor Dewey, Governor Martin, Mr. Malone and, other Republican leaders are making much ado about President Roosevelt referring to himself as Commander-in-Chief. They’ve leaned over backwards to pick out every little flaw in his Administration and wildly exaggerate his every act.

In their vain vituperations do they ever stop to think that as Commander-in-Chief he cannot defend himself and get into a verbal brawl? He is Commander-in-Chief, is he not? And as such has the constitutional right to go hither and yon in that official capacity.

And do they ever stop and think while accusing certain Democratic leaders of running the Democratic convention that at their own convention Messrs. Pew, Grundy, Martin and Weir were very much in evidence. Oh yes, it was all harmony – all cut and dried behind doors in hotel rooms. No one dared say no.

But at the Democratic convention, half of Texas dared to revolt and walk out of the convention. But rest assured that most of them that revolted will vote for FDR. Southerners never walk very far. And I won’t be surprised to see Mr. Willkie walk back after the rotten deal the Republicans gave him.

Mr. Dewey dabbling in politics against the seasoned veteran, FDR, is a laugh. FDR will be re-elected and it will be the Republicans who will do it. Watch and see.

Wilmerding, PA

The Pittsburgh Press (September 20, 1944)

Campaign promise of 1932 recalled

To the editor: Many new mythical issues will be coined by the New Deal from now until the November election to detract the voters’ attention from the real issues in this campaign. Every effort will be made to influence new voters, and more rash promises made to keep the sucker vote in line. Policies used in sound democratic government will be cast to the winds, and New Dealers will make any promises or reverse themselves on any former pledge if it will mean a few more votes on the way to a fourth term.

Can the workingman stand up under his tax load for another four years of extravagant New Deal spending?

The New Deal will make many promises like the joke of 1932, when they were going to reduce the cost of Government 25 percent, then created in the next four years the greatest national debt in peacetime the nation has ever known, followed by the greatest tax burden ever placed on the workers’ shoulders. So far they have always got out from under their pledges and promises with the one simple word, “Emergency.” Always emergency. The New Dealers grow fat on emergencies, but never make a move to prevent an emergency.

It is not a job entirely for the Republican Party to save this nation. It is a job for the Americans in all parties to place the freedom our great Constitution provides for every individual when strictly adhered to by our elected officials, above partyism or any personal favors extended by party men. Can anyone associate with the most questionable political characters of the big cities and as an elected official administer honest government to all the people and preserve democracy? The answer is decidedly no. It just cannot be done.

Portage, PA

The Pittsburgh Press (September 21, 1944)

He lacks confidence in Republican Party

To the editor: I get your paper regularly as I have no choice, since to us all Hearst papers are utterly distasteful. However, I supplement my newspaper reading with The New York Times which is not filled with the dozens of self-proclaimed columnists your paper contains.

Your paper as usual supports the Republican Party regardless of the facts, and since in the last three presidential elections the influence, politically, your paper engendered was minus, you can of course expect a similar result this year.

Why I’ll vote for FDR is easily answered by my statement that I have no confidence in the GOP. Mr. Dewey in 1940 denounced Lend-Lease, denounced recognition of Russia, denounced the draft and ridiculed FDR’s request for 50,000 planes. Why? Because at that time he believed the voters were with him. Now, believing the voters are for all those things and an enforced peace, he is for that.

President Harding, who as Senator backed Lodge, Johnson and other Republicans who opposed the League, when a candidate proclaimed he too was for the League so he could get votes and when elected promptly forgot all about it.

Read The New York Times’ editorial of September 9 regarding Mr. Dewey’s speech in Louisville. It points to one fact: Can Dewey get the support of such men as Nye, Bushfield, Johnson, Taft, Bertie McCormick, Curly Brooks? I doubt it.

The attacks on the PAC, secrets of Dumbarton Oaks, etc., are trivial. With five Republican millionaires contributing more than the millions of CIO to the Republican Party being OK with Mr. Dewey, while only $17,000 obtained by the PAC, the cry against Mr. Hillman so often repeated by the Governors is too silly for words.

Summing up, I have no confidence like the vast majority of voters in the Republican Party.

81 Kendall Ave., Bellevue, PA

Both major parties hopeless, he contends

To the editor: A few days ago, I listened to a radio program in which the Democrats and the Republicans were happily throwing brickbats at each other. It was the usual thing that we have heard so often before and will hear even more often in the coming months.

The Democrats said, “Look what an awful depression we had under the Republicans.” And the Republicans replied, “Look what terrible debts and bureaucracy we have under the Democrats.” I wonder how many other voters felt as I did – that it sounded exactly like two small boys thumbing their noses at each other and yelling, “Nya-a-a, you’re another.”

And I wonder also how many others would agree with me that they are both right. Under either Republicans or Democrats this country has had for generations, depressions and wars. Except for a few brief, false spurts of “prosperity” that always ended in a crash. In this, the richest, most advanced country in the world with the most efficient and resourceful people, surely we should be able to enjoy prosperity without wars. But neither Republicans nor Democrats have given it to us. Is it not time we elected someone who can give it to us?

I am going to vote for Norman Thomas because the Socialist Party program which he represents is the only one promising a solution of our deepest problems – jobs with decent pay for all who want work and a program of world co-operation for permanent peace. Mr. Thomas can solve these problems because his program is based on economic facts rather than political hot air.

Breakston Hotel, East Pittsburgh, PA

The Pittsburgh Press (September 22, 1944)

New Deal blameless in WPB row, he says

To the editor: “Give Light and the People Will Find Their Own Way” – what a nice, little slogan! If only you lived up to it. All the “light” your paper has been giving us lately could be pushed through the eye of a needle. Most of your political editorials are sarcastic, vindictive and in a lot of cases devoid of truth.

For instance, the editorial, “Krug Is No Programmer.” In this article you ridicule the War Production Board, inferring the board has done nothing right and blaming it al. on the administration. Right below it was another editorial labeled “Mr. Batcheller Returns.” This tells of a high official of a Pittsburgh steel concern returning to Washington to help out the war effort and praising this gentleman for the good job he had previously done. In both these articles you took special delight in ridiculing the Administration, and by adroit manipulation linking the words “New Deal” and “Roosevelt” with other matter, sought to offer the impression that the Administration was solely responsible for what failures there might be in the operation of the War Production Board.

Now, how about “giving a little light” in this case? Just why do you not also tell your readers that the War Production Board, as well as all the other bureaus, consists of members of both political parties, and why not also tell them that im the case of the War Production Board, it is a well known tact that the majority of the “bigshots” are Republicans of the “big businessman” type. The $30-a-week clerks certainly do no set the policies or make the decisions in that or any other department, so if there has been some inefficiency and dissention in the WPB, why not place the blame where it belongs, that is, on the higher-ups who are jealous of each other, as attested by the argument between Nelson and Wilson, both of whom represent big business with a capital "B.”

Fact of the matter is, you are not fooling anybody, for regardless of your biased editorials, fair-minded people who have no ax to grind will agree that the various bureaus have done a good job in this war.

Just because there is an election in November is no reason why you should distort facts and resort to political sniping. A nice, clean campaign is more in keeping with the former high standards of your paper.

311 Ross St., Pittsburgh, PA

The Pittsburgh Press (September 25, 1944)

Here’s a ray of hope for both parties

To the editor: To those anxious souls, whether Democrats or Republicans, who feel that their eternal salvation depends upon the election of their particular candidate for president at the coming election. I would like to bring a ray of hope.

Ten years ago, I began to send to President Roosevelt, Secretary Wallace and other New Dealers, copies of an outline for organization of local communities to solve their own purely local problems on the basis of the Golden Rule. That is, the individual would exercise his freedom of choice as to joining the organization or remaining a “rugged individualist.” I still have letters saying my plan was being studied at that time.

From time to time, I have dipped in my oar to try to steer the idea on a straight course by writing personal letters to leaders of both parties. This seeming two-facedness on my part has been confusing to some persons who could not understand why I should furnish ammunition to both political parties.

On September 1, 1944, (10 years after they studied my plan at Washington) Mr. Wilford White, chief of Special Studies Unit of the Commerce Department, wrote me that approximately 1,350 communities have made some use of “Community Action for Post-War Jobs and Profits,” a Government booklet gotten out about two years ago, to guide local communities in the solution of local problems after the war. He also informed me that about 2,000 communities are planning under the Committee for Economic Development, and that numerous other agencies are making similar plans.

The job now is being put up to local communities. For example, Pittsburgh Planners are asking for $36,000,000 for local projects. Where is the money to come from?

It looks like states’ rights and community rights will have to include states’ duties and responsibilities, for the national treasury is in worse shape, according to Republican leaders, than state and local treasuries.

This centralization of power has been going on for a hundred years or more regardless of the political party in power. It is now the job of both parties to decentralize such powers. Maybe this is not a ray of hope. but it is the beginning of freedom from state and national “bureaucracy.”

Mt. Pleasant, PA

‘Big Two’ conference just political, he argues

To the editor: Such headlines as “Roosevelt and Churchill Meet to Map Jap Defeat,” or the like are statements that are as far from the truth as can be imagined.

If any of us, Republicans, Democrats or New Dealers, are truthful with ourselves, we know that the Messrs. Roosevelt and Churchill plan about as much naval and military strategy as the man in the moon. How anybody can he so gullible as to believe that these two men actually plan the strategy of this war is more than I can believe. Surely the people should know or at least suspect that our naval and military men plan and carry out and win campaigns. This is their job; that is what they are trained for and that is what they do.

Probably the only reason Mr. Roosevelt attends these so-called conferences is to further establish himself as the “indispensable” man on the unsuspecting people that still class him in that category. Mr. Churchill no doubt has his own parallel political reasons.

Further, the secrecy in which these conferences are clothed is a guise to hide the fact that Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Churchill are merely furthering their own political ends.

403 Bodkin St., Pittsburgh, PA

The Pittsburgh Press (September 26, 1944)

Political tricks getting tiresome to Mr. Yost

To the editor: One of the most astounding aspects about the general public, in its reaction to political campaigns, is the ease with which astute, clever and spell-binding political aspirants can distract the voters’ attention from the true issues that face the people. With a few neatly-turned phrases these mountebanks can cover up or at least cause the public to forget their colossal blunders and inconsistencies.

The majority somehow believe that these medicine men can actually perform magic by creating jobs for everybody, bringing about the abundant life by resorting to a few incantations and reversing the multiplication table, and eliminate racial hatred by law and, in short, transform our cultural wilderness into a utopian playground. The basis for such belief is the campaign promises of our flatulent and scheming politicians who have learned when and how to pull the heart strings by playing the tune the public loves best to hear.

The New Deal has proved that it knows all the tricks of the trade and always, in that long sleeve, there is a trump trick to be pulled out at a favorable psychological moment to fetch the gaping boobus americanus. But after 11 long years by the master magician, the long sleeve is frayed and tattered and worn and it should become patent that, after all, even magic palls once we learn how it is done and that we have been duped by illusions.

Through fear and emotional stimulation our “save-the-world” and “emergency” rulers in Washington have been able to remain behind their mahogany desks for exactly three terms too long and we must see to it that they retire to their easy chairs and write their biographies.

1430 Barnsdale St., Pittsburgh, PA

The Pittsburgh Press (September 27, 1944)

Things that did not happen under GOP

To the editor: Ernie Pyle’s old Stuff is better reading than lots of later literature. Nothing startling on the editorial page today – what’s the matter, no knocks for Roosevelt, no boosts for Dewey?

A very amusing article by Thomas L. Stokes. He quotes the Republican candidate as saying, “Now that General Douglas MacArthur is no longer a political threat to the President, his magnificent talents should be given greater scope and recognition.” Now do you suppose he was trying to insult the General by inferring that he was ever a political threat to anyone? The way Mr. Dewey words this statement implies a fact that is nonexistent, in other words it is equal to a misstatement of a fact.

General MacArthur is a soldier and a gentleman, loved and admired by every good-hearted American. However, he has a duty to perform and a promise to keep to the boys he left on Bataan. This duty he is doing and this promise he is keeping as you can “see by the papers.”

It would seem that the leaders of the Republican Party having so many editors and radio announcers working for them could come out and tell the voters just how they think they can improve Government instead of casting slurs at the man who has been chosen three times by a majority of the citizens. I read the blurb of that congresswomen at the Republican convention and wonder why someone didn’t tell her that it took a Democratic President to let her have a vote.

She named several things that did not happen under a Republican President but she missed the main things very conveniently, such as Social Security; stock market regulations to prevent gambling; forcing banks to protect their depositors (the cost of which the banks passed on to their depositors); a graded income tax; hundreds of thousands of idle young men employed in healthy outdoor work in CCC; thousands of homes saved from foreclosure by the FHA; reforestation; aid to farms; 40-hour workweek; overtime pay; the right to organize and the franchise for women. These things also did not happen under a Republican President.

1023 Liberty Ave., Pittsburgh, PA

Socialist Labor Party candidate praised

To the editor: Ohio is represented in this political campaign with two candidates for the office of Vice President of the United States – John W. Bricker, Governor of Ohio, and Arla A. Albaugh, a photo-engraver of Massillon. But there all comparison stops.

The contrast between the two men and their political views was brought into sharp focus when the photo-engraver delivered his acceptance speech last Saturday.

Unlike old-line politicians, Mr. Albaugh was frank. He was fully conscious of the fact that he is a candidate of a minority party – the Socialist Labor Party; he recognizes that many regard his candidacy as being of lesser importance than that of the major parties; but he was likewise conscious of the undeniable fact that the size of a political party is not the yardstick by which history judges its importance; and he very obviously knows that history judges the importance of a political party by the ideas and principles which it embodies.

Contrary to the Brickers and the Trumans, Mr. Albaugh does not believe that a mere change of administrations in Washington is the solution to our problems. The Socialist Labor Party’s candidates sees no rosy future when the war ends – if the capitalist system is permitted to continue. On the contrary, “all the woes and evils which we faced in 1939 will flood back upon us, but this time in more terrifying proportions.”

Many listeners must have been impressed by Mr. Albaugh’s forthright statement that under Socialism there will be no politicians, no political State; that instead, there will be an Industrial Union Administration and that it will be manned, not by politicians and stuffed shirts, but by engineers, statisticians and such other workingmen as are elected by the workers in the various industries of the land.

513 Bayne St., Versailles, PA

Miners to follow two great men, reader says

To the editor: In 1928, John L. Lewis saw fit to support the great engineer, Herbert Hoover, and during that Administration the miners’ union all but folded up. But now with almost 11 million dollars in the treasury, he is trying to turn the miners away from their true friend in the White House. He tried the same trick in 1940 but it didn’t go over with the miners, nor will it go over with them this time.

In my opinion, the miners deserve all they can get, but if “Wrong John” couldn’t get them anything under the administration of the great engineer, how could he hope to fare any better under Tom Dewey? Where was the great engineer when the coal and iron police were killing the miners like rabbits? If it hadn’t been for great men like Pinchot and Musmanno I’d hate to think of the miners’ fate.

No, “Wrong John,” the miners will not follow your politics. They will follow their saviors, Pinchot and Musmanno, into the camp of the greatest President these United States ever had – Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Emsworth, PA